Military orbiter's landing rattles Florida with sonic boom (Update)

May 7, 2017
This image provided by the U.S. Air Force shows the Air Force's X37B spacecraft at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, May 7, 2017. U.S. military officials say that the an unmanned spacecraft orbiting Earth since May 2015 landed in Florida. (U.S. Air Force via AP)

U.S. military officials say an unmanned spacecraft orbiting Earth since May 2015 has landed in Florida.

The Air Force posted tweets that the X37B spacecraft landed Sunday morning at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral after 718 days in orbit.

Multiple media outlets reported that the 29-foot-long spacecraft's return caused a sonic boom that rattled central Florida and could be heard as far away as Tampa and Fort Myers.

It's the spacecraft's first landing in Florida. Previous X37B missions have landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

In a statement , officials said the X37B spacecraft is "an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force." Another mission is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral later this year.

Explore further: US military spacecraft back on ground after 7 months

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How massive can neutron stars be?

January 16, 2018

Astrophysicists at Goethe University Frankfurt set a new limit for the maximum mass of neutron stars: They cannot exceed 2.16 solar masses.

Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume

January 12, 2018

Statistical analysis of supermassive black holes suggests that the spin of the black hole may play a role in the generation of powerful high-speed jets blasting radio waves and other radiation across the universe.

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rrrander
2 / 5 (4) May 07, 2017
Well, it's a shadow of the former shuttle, but it's better begging the Russians for lifts or paying that Boer goon Musk to launch things.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet May 08, 2017
Since this thing has been flying at least 5 times already I think it's safe to say that this is doing a bit more than just being an "experimental test program"
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) May 08, 2017
Since this thing has been flying at least 5 times already I think it's safe to say that this is doing a bit more than just being an "experimental test program"
Curious. The experts say

"In a statement , officials said the X37B spacecraft is "an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force." Another mission is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral later this year."

-in addition to the X moniker. So I would have to believe that it is still an experimental_test_program.

"In 2011, Boeing announced plans for a scaled-up variant of the X-37B, referring to it as the X-37C. The X-37C spacecraft would be between 165% and 180% of the size of the X-37B"
Lex Talonis
not rated yet May 08, 2017
Each comes equipped with a space grade captive coffin - to capture and contain Jesus the Jewish Space Zombie, and bring him to justice for threatening to kill all of humanity.

Luke 19:27 (To his disciples) "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me."
gculpex
3.7 / 5 (3) May 08, 2017
Each comes equipped with a space grade captive coffin - to capture and contain Jesus the Jewish Space Zombie, and bring him to justice for threatening to kill all of humanity.

Luke 19:27 (To his disciples) "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me."

This is a science web site, not for religion.
baudrunner
not rated yet May 08, 2017
Not a smooth landing. The top of the fuselage looks a little warped, probably the result of an unclean entry resulting in a more intense sonic boom than planned.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet May 09, 2017
Each comes equipped with a space grade captive coffin - to capture and contain Jesus the Jewish Space Zombie, and bring him to justice for threatening to kill all of humanity.

Luke 19:27 (To his disciples) "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me."

This is a science web site, not for religion.


Jesus is an international criminal, planning on ending the world through his terrorist activities, and exterminating the human race in the process.

The space missions are up there to capture him, and bring him to justice and to put him to death by crucifiction - and this time they are going to leave the nails in.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.